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Neurosci Lett. 2004 May 6;361(1-3):258-61.

Acupuncture and endorphins.

Author information

1
Neuroscience Research Institute, Peking University and Key Laboratory of Neuroscience (Peking University), Ministry of Education, 38 Xue-Yuan Road, Beijing 100083, PR China. hanjisheng@bjmu.edu.cn

Abstract

Acupuncture and electroacupuncture (EA) as complementary and alternative medicine have been accepted worldwide mainly for the treatment of acute and chronic pain. Studies on the mechanisms of action have revealed that endogenous opioid peptides in the central nervous system play an essential role in mediating the analgesic effect of EA. Further studies have shown that different kinds of neuropeptides are released by EA with different frequencies. For example, EA of 2 Hz accelerates the release of enkephalin, beta-endorphin and endomorphin, while that of 100 Hz selectively increases the release of dynorphin. A combination of the two frequencies produces a simultaneous release of all four opioid peptides, resulting in a maximal therapeutic effect. This finding has been verified in clinical studies in patients with various kinds of chronic pain including low back pain and diabetic neuropathic pain.

PMID:
15135942
DOI:
10.1016/j.neulet.2003.12.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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